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7 surprising two-time major champions

By Alex Myers

With his second win at Augusta National, Bubba Watson vaulted over a number of one-time major winners, including big-name contemporaries like Fred Couples, Jim Furyk, and Davis Love III. Major No. 2 elevates the lefty to another level in any historical discussion about golf, but it also has us wondering where he fits in on that list. Thirty-five players now have exactly two majors. Here's a look at some of the most surprising of the bunch.

Related: The winners and losers from the 2014 Masters

Bubba Watson: We'll start with the most recent winner. He's certainly the only two-time major champion to wield a pink driver and he probably has the most unusual swing of the bunch. "A small-town guy named Bubba has two green jackets. It's pretty wild," Watson said following his latest triumph. Perhaps, but with six wins and two majors by 35, Bubba is well on his way to achieving Hall of Fame status. The surprise element comes from his funky swing, but his prodigious talent is something that was bound to shine through -- even if he didn't win on tour until he was 31.

Andy North: Probably the poster boy for surprising two-time major winners, North won more U.S. Opens than he did regular PGA Tour events. After winning the Westchester Classic in 1977, North won the U.S. Open at Cherry Hills in 1978 and then again at Oakland Hills in 1985. Then? That was it.

Angel Cabrera: El Pato because he only seems to surface in golf's biggest events. Part of that is because he's never played on the PGA Tour full time, but it's also because it's true. Cabrera only has five European Tour wins, but two of those are the 2007 U.S. Open and the 2009 Masters (majors count as wins on both the PGA and European Tours). Of course, he nearly took his name off this list at the 2013 Masters, but he lost in a playoff to Adam Scott.

John Daly: In a way, he was Bubba before Bubba. A guy with a homemade swing who could hit it a country mile, Daly shocked the golf world with his win at the 1991 PGA Championship at Crooked Stick as an alternate in the field. He stunned again at the 1995 British Open at St. Andrews, but he has only won one other event since, the 2004 Buick Invitational, leaving him stuck on five career tour wins.

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Johnny McDermott: Twenty-year-old Jordan Spieth impressed at the Masters, but more than a century ago, McDermott won two U.S. Opens by that age. How in the world did he not end up with more than two majors? Sadly, he had a mental breakdown at 23 and was diagnosed with chronic schizophrenia. He spent the rest of his life in and out of mental institutions.

Johnny Miller: Why is a Hall of Famer on this list? Well, if you only listened to him boast in the broadcast booth, you'd think he won at least eight majors. Miller makes this list because his two, the 1973 U.S. Open (Just a guess, you've heard him mention that one a few times) and the 1976 British Open, seem like they shouldn't have been the only ones for a guy who won 25 times and is widely regarded as one of the best ball-strikers of all time.

Related: Yep, Bubba Watson went to a Waffle House after winning the Masters

Greg Norman: Like Miller, the Shark makes this list because it's crazy to think someone that good could only win two majors. Norman won the 1986 and 1993 British Opens, but of course, he's known far more for the majors he let get away. Although, to be fair, he had a few taken away (Think: Larry Mize, Bob Tway, etc.). In 1986, Norman had the 54-hole lead in all four majors, but only closed with a victory at the British Open, and 10 years later he suffered his most painful loss when he blew a six-shot lead to Nick Faldo in the final round of the Masters. Despite all his close calls, Norman recently finished No. 2 to Tiger Woods in Golf World's ranking of the best golfers since 1980, largely on the strength of his 331 weeks atop the Official World Golf Ranking.

Overall, while Watson may seem like an unexpected two-time major winner -- even to himself -- him being stuck on two is less surprising than any of the others on this list. And at 35 and with no plans for the Masters ever moving from lefty-friendly Augusta National, there's a good chance we'll be comparing him to guys with three-plus major titles at some point.

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July 28, 2014

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